Friday, February 05, 2010

Light and shadow play of growth

Light and shadow play of growth

Residential areas in Hebbal feel the pressure of development and it is telling on real estate

After the opening of the new international airport at Devanahalli, areas on either side of the busy NH-7 have become a beehive of activity, fuelling rapid development. But the residents' needs are also fast changing along with the growth, says Monica Jha

Monica Jha



Once in the periphery of the city, Hebbal today spins a growth story. Some aspects of this assembly constituency changed forever with the opening of the international airport.
The constituency has a mix of upmarket residential areas like Dollars Colony, RMV II Stage and fast-developing localities like Sanjay Nagar, RT Nagar, Ganga Nagar and JC Nagar.
Being part of the city and close to the airport, pressure for development is huge on Hebbal constituency. Residential layouts and apartments are coming up in large numbers to meet the public demand. Consequently, commercial units are being opened up to cater to their changing needs.
"The real estate pressure on the area is huge. Due to this, finding a decent place to stay is a herculean task. Accommodation is indeed going out of common man's reach," says Rohith MK, an employee of an investment company.
"The real estate needs have led to scarcity of open spaces. Many parts of the Hebbal constituency are devoid of greenery. RT Nagar, JC Nagar, Sanjay Nagar and Ganga Nagar are extremely congested while RMV II Stage is slightly open with wide roads, but lacks green spaces," Rohith adds.
Concurring with Rohit is Santhosh Kumar N, a resident of RMV II Stage. With the area becoming congested and commercialised, roads are getting crowded too. "NH7 (international airport road) is busy through the day; pressure on other roads is no less either. The area's main bane is the narrow roads. The main roads in the area are narrow with shops on either side and facing heavy volume of traffic 24x7," Kumar says.
The area has undergone a significant change in terms of infrastructure, but not in lifestyle.
Ramneek Victor, a BPO employee and resident of Sanjay Nagar, focuses on a different problem. "There are no pubs or discos in this area, which has a massive young population. Who would like to travel 10 km after work to have a peg?" he asks.
"There are many good restaurants but fine dining is still missing. There are no continental restaurants either," says Anisha Sunoj, a medical student and resident of Dollars Colony.
"The cinema halls here are not up to the mark. There are no multi-screens like PVR here. Watching a movie becomes a pleasurable experience on a big screen but a pain in a dingy theatre," says Sameeksha Rai, a resident of RMV II Stage.
Eve-teasing is a menace here as there is hardly any police patrol at night. Young girls are scared of returning home alone at night. Lack of street lights adds to the problem.
With increasing vehicular movement, road accidents are rising. "The number of accidents has shot up on the NH7, especially after the new airport at Devanahalli started operations. We see smashed vehicle and injured people quite often" says Ramitha Srinivasa, a resident of Ganga Nagar Main Road.
Road rage has become routine, agrees, Anuradha, an MBA student and resident of RT Nagar. "Maddening traffic and careless driving have become a part of life here. Hence, minor accidents are routine."
"The tranquillity of this residential colony lay shattered after the 5th Main (Anandnagar Colony) became the link between RT Nagar and Cholanagar," says Prakash KB, a resident of Anandnagar.
Although everybody likes greenery, it is a nagging problem here. "Tree branches hanging over the electric street lamps and live wires lead to snapping of power often. Trees are not pruned regularly," says NK Sunil Kumar, a resident of Sanjay Nagar.
"Pedestrians are a neglected lot as elsewhere in the city. With traffic overflowing onto the footpaths, they are under constant threat. Part of the pavement is already under the custody of hawkers and another part of it is constantly being dug up by various civic agencies," says Rajvardhana, a resident of RMV II Stage.
"There are no skywalks or subways. And the flow of traffic never stops for pedestrians to cross the road," says Claraa Jones, a resident of JC Nagar.
"One of the obvious fallouts of narrow roads, heavy traffic and mushrooming commercial establishments is the trouble in finding a parking place. It results in illegal and on-road parking," says Antony Raj, a businessman and resident of Dollars Colony.

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